Coco is the heartwarming story of Miguel and his aspiration to become a musician. Unfortunately for him, Miguel’s family has forbidden music from their lives because of the actions of his great great grandfather. Instead of music, the family wants him to follow in their tradition of shoemaking.
During Dia de Los Muertos, Miguel decides to act out in defiance of his family and sets out to enter the talent show behind held at the plaza. This is a place he is warned never to go to because of the musicians that gather there. In doing this, Miguel believes he has discovered a family secret, who his great great grandfather was, and why music comes so naturally to him.
To enter the show, Miguel must first get his hands on a guitar and he lets nothing get in his way. This comes with serious consequences and Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead. If he hopes to return to the living, he must get the help of his family, his deceased ancestors, but this is easier said than done. Miguel’s adventure through the Land of the Dead will lead him to discover his purpose, come to a better understanding of his family, and celebrate his heritage.
The animation in Coco beautiful and deserves praise. As Disney/Pixar ventures into Mexican traditions and Dia de Los Muertos, it was important that they get it right and honor the spirit and purpose behind the holiday. With this film, they do exactly that. For audiences who aren’t familiar with, or don’t celebrate, the holiday, this is an opportunity to appreciate something new and different. The music, too, compliments the film and is done phenomenally.
While Coco is certainly a movie for children, it is also one all adults can enjoy. The story deals with the difficulties of old age, life and death, and family struggles. Watching this film, there were references and situations that likely went over the heads of the children in the room but weren’t lost on the adults accompanying them.
A film like this one is important when it comes to celebrating cultural differences. The rich traditions of Mexico and Dia de Los Muertos come across well on the big screen and I can only hope that we see more diverse animations in the future. Children, especially, deserve to be exposed to these themes and ideas.
Coco will certainly be remembered for years to come as one of Disney/Pixar’s best animations.
This review was crossposted with The Moderate Voice